New EnglandPatriots

Patriots trade tight end Rob Gronkowski to Buccaneers for this return


UPDATE (9 p.m. ET): It's official: Rob Gronkowski is headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The New England Patriots have traded the tight end and their seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft for Tampa Bay's 2020 fourth-round pick (No. 139 overall), the Bucs confirmed.

-- End of update --

A major NFL trade is close to being completed.

The New England Patriots will send tight end Rob Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a fourth-round pick, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Gronkowski already has taken his physical and passed it, per FOX Sports' Jay Glazer.

Acquiring a fourth-round pick isn't a bad return for the Patriots, who entered Tuesday with 12 selections (including one fourth-rounder) in this week's 2020 NFL Draft. The Patriots didn't have a ton of leverage here. The Bucs didn't absolutely need Gronk because they already had two quality tight ends, and the Patriots don't have enough salary cap space to take on the $10 million salary he'll receive in 2020.

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The future Hall of Fame tight end retired in March of 2019 after spending his first nine pro seasons with the Patriots. Gronkowski wasn't able to come out of retirement and immediately join the Buccaneers because there was still another year left on his Patriots contract. A trade had to be made for him to reunite with former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

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